My youngest, Jillian, and I were having a rather frank discussion about friendship, school, religion, and then Kim. I told her that Kim was depressed most of her life. REALLY depressed. But I didn’t know if that depression was driven by my job that made me an absentee father and husband most of the time, or, another facet: when we met, Kim was all of about 115 pounds. Maybe 110. After each child, she found the weight harder to lose. Kim’s body image, I believe was another source of depression, if not the predominant source. Oddly, though, looking back on some pictures, it is clear at some points in time she was really heavy (as is typical with married couples: so was I!), neither Jillian nor I could think of a time of ever thinking of her as “fat.” But I know she was unhappy with herself.
I also have a lot of “perfectionist” tendencies, and a teacher’s heart, I guess. When I see something going sideways (which could simply mean “not as I would do it”), I’m not shy about pointing out a “better” way to get it done. This led to Kim thinking she could do nothing right, no matter how often I explained that there was nothing wrong with the way she was doing it; just offering a different perspective. And just like a hound dog can’t help but bark at the squirrel, I just couldn’t seem to not do it.
Kim’s depression led to a problem with alcohol. Alcoholism. And, assuming her body was the major source of her depression, her choice of alcohol – Labatt’s beer – didn’t help, as the empty calories from that just added on more weight.
Lots of little things like that fed the demons that chased her.
With this in mind, I made the comment about Kim’s depression and stated that she didn’t have a very happy life. That was the focus of the conversation until I related the cream of celery soup story to Jillian and my conviction that there is a God, and that He listens. I included the comment about not knowing His mind or why He would help me with the soup, but not by curing Kim. (And choked up a bit.) And then the gold nuggets began spilling from her mouth, to wit (paraphrasing a bit since my memory didn’t capture it word for word, but the gist is the same):
“Mom’s diagnosis brought the family together; made us closer. Mom liked that. I think God was saying to her that He didn’t like this either, but it has a purpose that she would like, and that she can look down on us and see how much closer we all are, and how much a part of each other we are now. He told her her suffering wouldn’t be that long, but the results would last.”
I agree. And I couldn’t have said it better myself. Such a great perspective!